Boston Terriers may be a small breed, but don’t let their short stature fool you. These beautiful dogs are built for canine sports, especially ones that require speed. They perform exceptionally well at agility sports that require short bursts of energy versus periods of prolonged exertion.
But just how fast can they run? The average Boston Terrier can run at a top speed of 25 mph (40 kph). Keep reading to learn more about the athleticism of this breed, why they were bred, and things you should consider when exercising your Boston Terrier.
Are Boston Terriers Athletic?
Many people believe that Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic breed, so they cannot compete in canine sports or be athletic. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While this breed is not cut out for marathon running, they are still considered an athletic dog breed. They enjoy and excel at various performance activities, such as tracking, agility, water sports, and flyball.
Boston Terriers can be fast runners, especially in an open area like a field. They can even jog alongside you for shorter distance runs and will happily trot beside you for longer hikers. That said, it is not a breed designed for long-distance running.
Where Do Boston Terriers Get Their Athleticism?
Boston Terriers result from a cross between English Bulldogs and the extinct White English Terrier. Most people don’t equate English Bulldogs with athleticism, as they are one of the mellowest dog breeds, perfectly content with lazing about the house all day. The Boston Terriers’ genes inherited from the working dog English White Terrier make them athletic.
The Boston Terrier’s body is well-built, compact, and muscular. They have well-formed bones in their fore and hindquarters that allow for galloping long distances. Their short and sleek coat also reduces wind resistance, making it easier for them to run.
What Were Boston Terriers Bred For?
Wealthy families initially bred Boston Terriers for the horrible practice of dog fighting. They were also bred to hunt vermin and excelled at taking out all types of critters that plagued the garment factories in New England during the 1800s. Rats, especially, were a problem in garment factories as they’d eat the fabrics. The only solution New Englanders could come up with at the time was to breed high prey-drive dogs to hunt and kill the rats. The original Boston Terriers had a feistiness and viciousness that lent well to this job.
The original Boston Terriers were bigger and stronger than the ones we know and love today. Modern Boston Terriers are smaller and have developed a much calmer and milder temperament.
How Does the Boston Terrier’s Running Speed Stack Up Against Other Animals?
Boston Terriers may be fast, but they are far from the fastest dog breed. They can run faster than the average human and their English Bulldog ancestors. Let’s look closer at how their running speed stacks up against other animals.
|Boston Terrier||25 mph|
|Human, male (on average)||5.9 mph|
|English Bulldog||< 10 mph|
|Domestic cat||30 mph|
|Grey wolf||38 mph|
|Greyhound (fastest dog)||45 mph|
|Cheetah (fastest land animal)||75 mph|
Safety Considerations for Exercising a Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have an anatomic abnormality that causes a flat face. This trait makes them prone to difficult and obstructive breathing due to their head, muzzle, and throat shape. They’ve been bred to have short muzzles and noses, resulting in flattened or undersized throats and breathing passageways. In addition, their unique physiology can make it hard for them to pant enough to cool off, meaning they may feel humidity faster and be unable to regulate their temperature, putting them at risk of overheating and heat stroke.
Owners of brachycephalic breeds need to take precautions when exercising their dogs outside in warm weather. When you’re going outside with your Boston Terrier, take the following steps to ensure your dog stays safe:
- Always provide fresh, cool water
- Offer cool icy treats
- Never leave them in a closed car
- Don’t leave them outside
- Avoid strenuous exercise in the heat
- Spend time in shaded areas
- Schedule outings for the less-hot times of the day
- Use a cooling vest
- Keep your home’s temperature cool
As an owner of a brachycephalic breed, you should also know the signs of heat stroke, including:
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast heart rate
- Dry mucous membranes
- Bright red gums or tongue
- Skin that’s hot to the touch
Heatstroke in dogs is life-threatening and can result in very serious complications. The earlier you recognize the signs, the better your dog’s chances of recovering.
Boston Terriers are surprisingly fast, given their size and the fact that they’re a brachycephalic breed. They can reach top speeds of up to 25 mph, but it’s more likely that your dog will run slower than that. If you’re looking for a jogging buddy to travel long distances with you, you’d be better off choosing a different dog breed. Boston Terriers are athletic, sure, but too much exercise can be dangerous for your little buddy, especially if it’s hot outside.